Reviewed on Playstation 5
The first Sonic game was released 31 years ago. Now, as part of its anniversary celebrations, SEGA returns with Sonic Origins a collection that brings together the first four titles in the franchise – Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic CD, Sonic 2 & 3 and Knuckles.
All of these games can be enjoyed in their original aspect or in widescreen. In the anniversary version, you get infinite lives and the screen has been adapted to a larger 16:9 aspect ratio, making the experience more pleasing. While the second is the classic version, with a 4:3 screen and limited lives and you have to try from the beginning again. Both modes feature the same updated graphics and they add a nice refresh to the overall 16-bit aesthetic.
The collection also offers a way to play everything at once. The “story mode” brings together all the titles chronologically as if they were a single game. It is also possible to choose the playable character in any chapter from the beginning, always varying between Sonic, Tails and Knuckles. And in Sonic 2 and Sonic 3, you can play with doubles.
Gameplay & Graphics
The game menu is divided into various 3D islands, each representing a game from the series (Sonic 1, Sonic 2, Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Sonic CD). You can play each game separately or all together as one giant story.
The Anniversary modes takes things up to 16:9 with no time limits and unlimited lives, you continue from the last save or checkpoint with infinite attempts
While the second is the classic version, with a 4:3 screen and limited lives and you have to try from the beginning every time you run out of lives.
If you just want to beat up Robotnik, you can do that in Boss Rush mode, and completing it will reward you with coins. Or you can just play Sonic 3’s Blue Spheres mini-game/bonus level. The game also features special missions that are separate from the main games such as defating enemies as soon as possible, using only aerial attacks, completing a goal as soon as possible and more.
In terms of gameplay, the immediate gamechanger is the widescreen mode which effectively increases the viewing distance to easily avoid obstacle at high speeds. The movements in each game are very fluid and controllable. From a graphics perspective, the games are identical to the original ones but detailed, crisp and more refined than ever. The game also runs in 4K 60fps, so everything is buttery smooth.
All progress is saved separately in each game or mode. So, you can start playing any of them in any order you like, freely switch between them, and pick up right where you left off on each one. All stages of the game have the times recorded when you play them and, it is possible to check everything, replay and see the rankings.
The collection also has extra modes. The “Boss Rush”, in which the player needs to face all the bosses of each title without taking damage, withj only three lives. While the “Mission Mode” offers missions with specific objectives, such as killing a number of enemies with a hit in the air, reaching the end of the stage in touching the ground and so on. When you beat each title, there’s a “Mirrored Mode” is unlocked that reverses the courses, instead of the traditional way.
Another mode is the Museum. All the coins and life bars accumulated in missions and in anniversary modes can be used to redeem goodies in the museum like concept art, comic book covers, and music. There are no microtransactions as everything in the game can be unlocked by collecting coins.
Sonic Origins is a well-thought-out collection that brings together the first four games in the franchise and will appeal to both veterans and newcomers alike. If you’ve never played Sonic and want to give it a go for the first time, Sonic Origins is highly recommended.
Extras such as missions, animated cutscenes and Sonic 3 & Knuckles “remastered” in 16:9 are also warm welcome to those who already know the original games.
However, the price point is something that may be a let down and on the other hand the game is only available digitally. To make matters worse, there is a Deluxe Edition that costs more and only adds few additional content which could have been included in the standard version.
Sonic Origins is available on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X & S and Windows.